Barley, Cardamom, and Chickpea Mix Helps Fight Diabetes

Jenn Hoskins
1st March, 2024

Barley, Cardamom, and Chickpea Mix Helps Fight Diabetes

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • A study from the University of Karachi found a herbal mix reduces blood sugar and weight in diabetic, obese rats
  • The herbal granules also improved liver, kidney, and pancreas health, and increased antioxidant activity
  • These findings suggest the herbal mix could be a potential treatment for diabetes and obesity
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar levels, often accompanied by obesity and various metabolic complications. Traditional medicines, particularly those using a combination of herbs, have been a part of the cultural fabric in South Asia, offering alternative or complementary treatments for such conditions. A recent study from the University of Karachi has shed light on the efficacy of poly-herbal granules (PHGs) in treating diabetic and obese rats, providing scientific backing to centuries-old practices[1]. The PHGs in question are a concoction of three herbs: Hordeum vulgare (barley), Elettaria cardamomum (cardamom), and Cicer arietinum (chickpeas). These ingredients have been individually recognized for their potential health benefits, particularly in managing blood sugar levels[2]. The researchers aimed to investigate the combined effect of these herbs in a granulated form on diabetes and obesity. The PHGs were first chemically characterized to identify their active compounds. Notably, compounds such as 1,3-Benzenedicarboxylic acid bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester and phenol, 2,4-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl) were found, which are believed to have therapeutic effects. Using molecular docking techniques, researchers compared the binding energies of these compounds with those of metformin, a common diabetes medication, against enzymes α-amylase and α-glucosidase, which are involved in carbohydrate digestion. The PHGs showed higher binding energies, suggesting a strong potential to inhibit these enzymes and, therefore, reduce blood sugar levels. In the in-vivo portion of the study, rats were first made obese and diabetic through a high-fat, high-sugar diet followed by an injection of alloxan monohydrate, which induces diabetes. The rats were then treated with varying doses of PHGs for four weeks. The results were promising: the PHGs led to a reduction in body weight, blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), blood lipid levels (hyperlipidemia), and insulin resistance. These are all key markers of diabetes and obesity management. Furthermore, the treatment improved the health of the pancreas, liver, and kidneys, which are often compromised in diabetic conditions. This was evidenced by histopathological examinations showing reduced damage to these organs. The PHGs also enhanced the activity of antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione (GSH), while reducing malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, which is a marker of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a known contributor to the complications of diabetes and obesity[3]. In addition, the PHGs influenced the expression of certain proteins involved in inflammation and antioxidant defense. They downregulated tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), both of which are associated with inflammation. Conversely, they upregulated nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), which plays a critical role in the cellular antioxidant response. These findings align with earlier research, like the study on Allium hookeri, which demonstrated the potential of plant extracts to manage diabetic symptoms, improve lipid profiles, and exert anti-inflammatory effects without toxicity[4]. Similarly, the study on Parkia speciosa highlighted the role of polyphenol-rich extracts in regulating blood sugar, lipid levels, and enhancing antioxidant capacity in diabetic rats[5]. The study from the University of Karachi is significant as it not only supports the use of traditional herbal remedies for managing DM and obesity but also provides a scientific basis for the mechanisms through which these benefits are conferred. The PHGs could offer a multi-faceted approach to treatment, addressing not only the symptoms but also the underlying causes such as oxidative stress and inflammation. In conclusion, the research presents a compelling case for the potential integration of poly-herbal therapies into modern medical practice for the management of chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity. It also underscores the importance of further clinical studies to validate the efficacy and safety of these herbal combinations in humans.



Main Study

1) Combination therapy with Hordeum vulgare, Elettaria cardamomum, and Cicer arietinum exhibited anti-diabetic potential through modulation of oxidative stress and proinflammatory cytokines.

Published 29th February, 2024

Related Studies

2) Chemical characterization, antioxidant and antidiabetic activities of a novel polyherbal formulation comprising of Hordeum vulgare, Elettaria cardamomum and Cicer arietinum extracts.

3) Obesity and insulin resistance: Pathophysiology and treatment.

4) Anti-Diabetic Effects of Allium hookeri Extracts Prepared by Different Methods in Type 2 C57BL/J-db/db Mice.

5) Stink bean (Parkia speciosa) empty pod: a potent natural antidiabetic agent for the prevention of pancreatic and hepatorenal dysfunction in high fat diet/streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetes in rats.

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